Classy for the Classics - EF Education’s special edition Tour of Flanders switch-out kit

The American men’s and women’s WorldTour squads will use Rapha's special-edition Flandrien collection this weekend

The Tour of Flanders is one of the most iconic races in the professional cycling calendar. Now in its 108th edition, De Ronde carries a wealth of history and new stories are written on famous climbs such as the Kwaremont and Koppenberg each time the race takes place. Alongside their clothing partner, Rapha, EF Education’s men’s and women’s WorldTour teams are paying homage to the generations of cyclists who have rattled over the cobbles before them with a retro-inspired, special edition Flanders switch-out kit for the 2024 edition.

With a simple and classic design, the new kit is a far cry from the Palace collaborations that the American WorldTour team has been known for in the last few seasons, but instead it’s a nod to the rich heritage and culture of the sport. Part of Rapha’s 20th anniversary campaign, ‘Past Forward’, the kit is a move away from EF Education’s usual pink livery, and instead a black colour forms the base of the jersey and shorts, with white and pink accents surrounding sponsor logos. The usual EF Education typeface has been replaced with a font reminiscent of the iconic retro Molteni jersey, while the kit’s colourway could be a subtle nod to the much-loved Rapha Condor jersey that the brand released in 2015.

The EF Education-EasyPost men’s squad will start the Tour of Flanders with high hopes of a good performance from former-winner Alberto Bettiol, who was on impressive form in Dwars door Vlaanderen a few days ago until cramp took him out of contention from the winning group.

The Italian rider commented in a press release: “De Ronde is a masterpiece of cycling, something holy and sacred for the Flemish people. I love the passion that they have. They wait for one year for this race, and I feel a sense of responsibility to do my best for them, because of the history, because they write my name on the asphalt. I am one of the few guys in the peloton who have seen what it means to win the Ronde van Vlaanderen. I got from the Flemish people even more passion, even more excitement, even more desire to race here in this countryside. The Flandriens grew up with this mighty Ronde van Vlaanderen. Now, I am a part of their history. This is a feeling you only have here in Flanders and in a few other parts of the world.”

On the women’s team, Coryn Labecki is also a former De Ronde champion, winning the race from a reduced bunch sprint in 2017. The likes of Kristen Faulkner and Alison Jackson will also be aiming for a strong result alongside their teammate, hoping to be visible in their new kit and pose a challenge to teams such as Lidl-Trek and Team SD Worx-Protime.

Labecki commented: "Flanders represents the truest essence or meaning of road cycling,” she says. “It is just a cool frickin’ race. This is the standard and the highest level of racing. There is just so much history in the classics. They are some of the hardest and most technical road races in the world. I love cobbled climbs. I love the challenge and the technicality of it and then fans just add an extra dimension to it that not all races have.”

It’s not just Rapha who have embraced the team’s switch-out kit, with bike sponsor Cannondale also giving the EF Education team bikes a fresh lick of paint ahead of Sunday’s race – the SuperSix EVO Lab71 bikes feature a black and pink colourway to match the team’s jersey.

Rapha says that the Flandrien Collection will be available for purchase from April 2, 2024, with exclusive 24-hour early access for RCC members.

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